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Issue Home May 9, 2007 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

There Is Good

It seems like every time something is put in the newspaper it is about something that is destructive or bad. Well, I just want everyone to know there is good in Susquehanna County, and it’s in the Blue Ridge School.

We at the Old Mill Village have been working very hard to get the village cleaned up and open by May 27. After the flooding last summer the village suffered a tremendous amount of damage from water and debris. We started the cleanup with a group of students from the Episcopal Church in and around Bethlehem, PA. These students came in to help us clean three buildings and ended up working so well and efficiently that we were able to clean seven buildings, even the windows. These same students will be going to New Orleans this summer to help with the Katrina cleanup. They have also asked to come back in May to help us do much-needed painting of the village buildings.

On May 21 and again on the 28th, a group of ten students from the Blue Ridge High School Honor Society came to the village and worked diligently both Saturdays to clean, haul, lift, mop and do anything that was asked of them and more. It was a real pleasure to work with these young, motivated students and the work they accomplished in two Saturdays could never have been completed without their help. The village will be opening on time as we had hoped, May 27, Wool and Textile Day. We will not be able to open the lower green this summer because of grounds damage and building damage, but the programs we will offer to the public on the upper green will be well worth coming out to see.

Thank you to Mr. Sokolosky and the Blue Ridge High School Honor Society.


Dixie Russell and the

Board of Directors of

Old Mill Village

Tax Shifting?

Gambling funds were to be applied to real estate tax reduction for the people of our state. And, the governor had endorsed a measure of real property tax relief with a proposed increase in the sales tax.

Under Act 1, the Governor and the Legislature have mandated the School Boards to take action to implement an added tax to the Earned Income Tax (EIT), which is already in place or to implement a Personal Income Tax (PIT) for property tax relief or face the possible withholding of school reimbursements if no action is taken. Frustrating and threatening?

The Elk Lake School Board voted 5-3 to implement a Personal Income Tax of 1.2%. The district at this time does have an Earned Income Tax in place of 1%, 1/2% going to the school district and 1/2% going to the township. A Personal Income Tax will include all earned income from wages, interest, dividends, etc.

Under the Personal Income Tax proposal, a family earning $35,000.00 per year would pay 1.2%, $420.00 per year, plus the Earned Income Tax at 1%, $350.00, for a total of $770.00 per year. Would you call this tax relief or a tax shift? And, we do not know what the total of tax relief will be. At this time it is only estimated. Taxes will never end because more will never be enough.

Our elected officials have dumped their jobs on the individual school boards and the citizens of this state. They promised tax relief and left it up to the school boards to do their work and come up with a decision they should have made. Tax fairness will not be achieved, but they will tell us they gave us a choice and the opportunity to choose.

Your voice must be heard at the Primary Election on May 15. Whether you are a registered Democrat, Republican or Independent, go to the polls and vote on the Act 1 Question. Read it carefully so as to understand it completely. If you vote for the PIT, it will become law on July 1. If you vote against it, perhaps we can send a message back to our legislators to do their jobs – the reason they were elected.


Helen McKeon

Springville, PA

No New Taxes!

The state is trying to play another trick on us. Vote “no” on Act 1. Reject both the EIT (Earned Income Tax) and the PIT (Personal Income Tax) in the May primary.

Under the guise of property tax reduction, the governor and legislators are trying to impose new taxes, that, once in place, will give our elected neighbors unlimited access to our wallets to fund the black hole of government schools.

This law is deliberately written to be vague and unclear. Even those charged with implementing it do not understand it. It is, in short, a bad deal.

The reduction we will get in property taxes will be small; for example, in the Montrose district it is estimated to be $220. For most people it will amount to a tax increase. And there is no limit to the amount of the new taxes being proposed.

We are being fooled. It is the magician’s sleight of hand. Governor Rendell was supposed to give us property tax relief with the gambling initiative. Now we have gambling, but no property tax relief.

It is the same with this legislation. The goal is to get new taxes in place at the local level with the deceitful bait of property tax reduction. Those new taxes can then be raised for yet another “good” cause.

Both of the proposed taxes will be an increased burden to retirees and middle- and lower-income families. Again, in the Montrose district for example, if you or your family make more than $20,000 per year you will pay more in taxes. Folks who rent will pay lots more. These taxes will drive folks to other states, the very folks we need most to remain in our area. Pennsylvania already has one of the highest levels of property taxes in the nation.

Token property tax reduction as a mask to slip in new and higher taxes is the kind of political deception running rampant in our government.

Don’t be fooled. It is a bad deal. We are not getting property tax relief under this bill. Vote ‘NO’ to any new taxes on the May primary ballot. Reject the EIT (Earned Income Tax) and the PIT (Personal Income Tax) being presented as Act 1. The health of our area depends on it.


Russ Wood

Montrose, PA

Hypocrisy In Action

Today, May 3, is the National Day of Prayer. I object to this event because it's not the government's place to tell us when, where or how to pray; because the Chairwoman is Shirley Dobson, wife of the most powerful player in the Religious Right; because of its political subtext in promoting a far-right theocratic agenda; and because it's not inclusive of other religious traditions. So I hand-painted a sign reading "Matthew 6:5-6" and placed it in the ground in front of the gazebo before the event. (This passage gives Jesus' directions not to pray in public, but in private.)

The event just ended. I walked to the gazebo and found that someone had taken my sign! So not only do they ignore Matthew 6:5-6, they don't believe in "Thou Shalt Not Steal," either! What else will these phonies choose to ignore?

I want my sign returned. No questions asked. You can leave it at the desk in the Library. Or your faith will deserve the black eye you're giving it.


Stephen Van Eck

Rushville, PA

Get Out And Vote

Although it is hard to miss the fact that primary elections are being held on May 15, many people don’t vote on that day, considering that the most important election is in November. They also think that the same people are running again so there’s no reason to vote because there’s no competition. This is definitely not the case this year.

In Thompson Township alone, there are several new candidates for township supervisor, making this a very important primary for those residents. In the commissioners’ race, if you wait for the general election, you miss the chance to make your voice heard at the very beginning and simply end up voting after everyone else has made the choice for you.

In the case of townships and boroughs and in the case of county positions, the primary is key. So come out and vote and choose the candidates you want, not the candidates that someone who bothered to vote on May 15 wanted.


Jo-Ellen Greene

Thompson, PA

The Weak Link

If a Nobel Prize were awarded for failure, the U.S. military would have a lock on it. Its persistence in the boondoggle that is co-ed basic training would shame the competition. Co-ed boot camp goes beyond ordinary blunders, or even the exceptionally misguided. It is an award-winning flop.

Somewhere in the turbulence that was the 60's, society had a religious experience. After several millenniums it was discovered that men and women were, after all, equal. Imagine that. It took a while, but gradually the military began to catch up. The Air Force started sex integration in 1977, the Navy in 1992, the Army in 1994, and the Marines? Well, forget the Marines.

A report prepared for the armed services compared the physical capabilities of men and women. Uncomfortable facts followed. Women have 37 fewer pounds of muscle and 6 pounds more fat. They have half the upper body strength of men and 70% less lower body strength. The aerobic capacity of a woman in her twenties is the same as a man in his fifties.

The Navy has a series of 8 tests that are designed to measure a recruit's ability to handle shipboard emergencies (they are apt to occur in the military). After training, the women's failure rate was 63%, the men's 0.5%.

Accordingly, the Navy "gender normed" its basic training. Recruits are given a Blue Card (Pink would never do). If the training gets too stressful, just wave the card. It's time out. The D.I., now a kinder, gentler man – or woman – will understand.

Army obstacle courses have likewise adapted to the new reality. If a wall is too high to climb over, choose a lower one. If that one is too difficult, well, then, just go around it. Oh, they're no longer called obstacle courses. It's a "confidence course."

Running in formation is not a suitable co-ed activity. Now everyone runs at his own pace; fast, slow, or not at all. As for exercises that called for physical contact, well, you can imagine what that would lead to. It's all a bit squishy.

Watching a platoon of men and women running through (or around) obstacles has its funny side. But don't laugh, smile, and for heaven's sake don't say a word, not if you hope for a promotion, or place a value on your career. Remember, women are just miniature men.

There's a serious side to this, a deadly serious side. Nothing in civilian life prepares one for the physical rigors of combat. D.I's. use to bark, "More sweat, less blood." But in today's feminized army it's no sweat, just a rosy glow. Training camp is now more like summer camp.

Women have their gifts. They are adorned with a beauty and grace that age can never touch. Women are the conscience of the species, mollifying even civilizing the fierce aspect of the race. They are blessed with reservoirs of patience and gentleness, a capacity for empathy and warmth that far outreaches a man's.

The very nature of women, to bear and care for new life, is at odds with the military, a martial machine whose essence is to take life and destroy. Excepting, then, in those capacities of caring for the sick and wounded, at which she stands alone having no equal, a woman's place in the military is a place that is out of place.


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA

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Thank you, Susquehanna County Transcript

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